A Space Cowboy’s Curriculum

“Ten things I know about John Perry Barlow: 1. John Perry Barlow died this past February at age seventy, but people have been trying to describe him for decades. Among the attempts: ‘Internet guru,’ ‘the thinking man’s Forrest Gump,’ and ‘an oracle of the unusual’ (this last phrase from his dear friend Carolyn ‘Mountain Girl’ Garcia, one of Ken Kesey’s original Merry Pranksters). His New York Times obituary described him as ‘a former cowpoke, Republican politician and lyricist for the Grateful Dead whose affinity for wide open spaces and free expression transformed him into a leading defender of an unfettered internet.’ Barlow himself, on one of his business cards, presented his job title as ‘Peripheral Visionary,’ which was typically waggish of him but too modest. His vision, as he grooved through cyberspace and ‘meatspace’ (which is what he called real life), could be direct, just as it could be X-ray or cosmic. … 3. Barlow, the only child of a devout Mormon state senator, started out on a Wyoming ranch. But then the sixties happened, along with a degree in comparative religion from Wesleyan and a gig writing witty, poetic song lyrics for the Grateful Dead. (The Dead’s guitarist Bob Weir was Barlow’s friend from adolescence.) Adventures ensued, of course—but not just adventures. By the seventies, Barlow’s life goals had become ‘being a good ancestor’; remembering that ‘it’s not either/or, it’s both/and’; and practicing ‘pronoia,’ which he defined as ‘the suspicion the universe is a conspiracy on your behalf.’  When he reached thirty in the late eighties, he wrote out for himself his two dozen principles of adult behavior. Some of these principles are quite practical: ‘Assign responsibility, not blame.’ ‘Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.’ ‘Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission, and pursue that.’ But others are less earthy, more in sync with the man’s Grateful Dead work: ‘Expand your sense of the possible.’ ‘Laugh at yourself frequently.’ ‘Become less suspicious of joy.’ …”
The Paris Review
W – John Perry Barlow
Wired: The Ghost of John Perry Barlow Lives in His Posthumous Memoir

Jimmy Mac & John Perry Barlow; New Orleans

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Counterculture, Grateful Dead, Haight-Ashbury, Ken Kesey, LSD, Merry Pranksters, Music and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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